Of all the other cultures in India, Maharashtrians tend to have the simplest weddings. These weddings are complemented with simple, yet healthier wedding cuisines. Marathi food promises less oil, less salt, minimal butter, thereby making it a fitness freak’s delight.
Wedding menu of a Marathi family is almost always vegetarian, and more so if the couple hails from a Brahmin family. There are some sects of Marathi’s that eat meat, yet their food menus are all vegetarian. This is because wedding rituals and receptions generally take place in temples, where non-veg is restricted.
Marathi wedding menu can also be broadly classified into three categories.
Appetizers: Appetizers include some of the most popular street foods such as bhajiyas (onion pakoda), batatyache kaap (potato pakoda) and batata vada (potato pattis).
Main Courses: Main course is an elaborate palette of fresh vegetables in dry or gravy form, made using spices, chilli powder, and cumin powder. Vegetable varieties include bhendi (lady’s finger) potato, eggplant, and cabbage. Ussal (made of beans) is another peculiar specialty of Marathi food. Paneer dishes like paneer bhurji, paneer pakoda are luxurious additions. Puris, fried in oil, form a core part of Marathi wedding menu. These are teamed with yellow dal (moong dal) and Varan, which is boiled toor dal (lentil) made using less spices. Vegetable pulav, masala bhath (spiced rice), lemon rice, or jeera rice (cumin rice) are a delicious deviation from the plain old boiled rice.
Desserts: Desserts like Shrikhand and Amrakhand are the most savored in Marathi weddings. Shrikhand is strained yogurt flavored with cardamom, kesar etc. Amrakhand is mango-flavored Shrikhand. Other sweet dishes include Jalebi, Gulab Jamun, Puran Poli (jaggery filled roti), dahi vade (pakoda in curd) and more.
Pangat (Serving of Food)
It is the most popular way of serving food in Marathi weddings. In a large hall, guests are made to sit in parallel rows “pangats” on floor mats. Banana leaves or silver plates decorated with flowers and rangoli are laid out in the front. Each item is served in a proper sequence and is placed at a proper place on the plate.
The serving begins with salt and a piece of lemon. Then comes the mango or lime pickle. This is followed by papad and potato bhajiyas. A number of small bowls are laid out in the plate or on banana leaf to contain the vegetables. Potato bhaji, ussal, eggplant curry, cabbage bhaaji, and one dish with coconut curry are neatly served one after another. Puris follow. Then there is boiled rice with Varan and raita (curd mixed with onion and vegetables). Or there is a serving of Masala Bhath. At the end of the meal, Tak (buttermilk) or Sol Kadi (coconut milk) is offered. Desserts such as jalebis, shrikhand, Aamras (mango puree) are served at the end. According to Marathi tradition, wedding feast should include the panch pakvanna (five sweets). These sweet dishes could be karanjee (fried pastry with a filling of jaggery and coconut), Motichur laddu, kesar bhaat (saffroned sweet rice), puran poli, or kheer.